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Careers and Internships

Social Work Careers

  • Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) prepares individuals for entry-level direct practice.
  • Master of Social Work (MSW) is necessary to provide therapy and for advancement to supervisory or administrative positions.
  • Doctorate in Social Work (DSW) or Ph.D. usually required for positions in teaching, research, and administration. Desirable for some clinical positions and private practice.
  • Complete a degree from a college or university program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Programs include practical field experience.
  • Most states require licensure, certification, or registration.
  • The field practicum is used to determine suitability for this profession and to provide exposure to various practice settings and clients.
  • Candidates should possess empathy for others, an appreciation for diversity, and an interest in social change.
  • Social workers serve a range of client systems (individuals, families, groups, communities) as they attempt to enhance social functioning.
  • Social work is unique given its dual focus on the person and the environment.
  • Note: Much of this information was adapted from Choices: Careers in Social Work by the National Association of Social Workers.
  • For more information about social work careers, see the  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The chart below, developed by the career planning staff at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is helpful in showing what types of careers you can go into with a degree in social work.

Social Work Careers
Areas Expertise Employers Description / Strategies
PUBLIC WELFARE Administration and Planning
Case Management
Program Evaluation
Policy Setting
Public welfare agencies
Private social service agencies
Public welfare is designed to provide services and support for poor, disabled, ill, elderly, or juvenile clients.
Volunteer at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, battered women homes, literacy programs, or other social service agencies to get experience.
Youth Services
Victim Assistance
Prisons and correctional facilities
Police departments
Probation offices
Victim services organizations
Social Workers in corrections focus on rehabilitation of clients.
Obtain experience by volunteering at a corrections facility or victims program such as a rape crisis center.
SCHOOL SOCIAL WORK  Clinical Social Work
Pupil Personnel Services
Student Advocacy
Elementary and secondary schools
School districts
Head start centers
Early intervention programs
School systems may employ social workers to help students cope with and resolve emotional,developmental, or educational difficulties.
Gain experience with children at daycare centers, camps, or Scouts.
CHILD WELFARE Case Management
Public and private child welfare agencies
Adoption agencies
Foster care organizations
Child daycare
Child welfare social workers strive to ensure the safety and well-being of children through treatment of the whole family.
Volunteer at daycares, child shelters, camps, YMCA, Scouts, or other agencies that aid youth.
GERONTOLOGY Advocacy/Intervention
Case Management
Public Policy
Nursing homes
Senior centers
Assisted living
Gerontology involves working with older adults, healthy or ill, and their families.
Get involved with programs or organizations designed for senior citizens.
CLINICAL Counseling
Community mental health centers
Psychiatric hospitals
Residential and day treatment hospitals
Employment assistance programs
Family service agencies
Private practice
Clinical social workers are found in a variety of settings that provide therapeutic counseling to clients.
Master of Social Work (MSW) is required.
Policy Development
Family service agencies
Child welfare departments
Social service agencies
State mental health departments
Employee assistance programs
Probation departments
Public welfare agencies
Public interest groups
Local, state, and federal government
Administrators are involved with planning, budgeting, public relations, marketing, supervising, operations management, fund raising, and other crucial responsibilities that keep an organization functioning.
Obtain an MSW and gain management experience.
Colleges and universities
Research institutes
Local, state and federal government
Advocacy organizations
Research provides data and statistics important in program implementation and policy development.
Doctor of Social Work (DSW) or Ph.D. usually required.
Wellness Promotion
Employee Assistance
Organizational Development
Human Resources
Employee assistance programs
Labor unions
Occupational social workers help employees to be more productive and satisfied.
Program Planning and Evaluation
Policy Development
Community residential homes
State and local agencies
Medical facilities
Social workers in this area help people with disabilities to adjust and to lead productive lives.
Volunteer at special needs camps, daycares, schools, or hospitals to gain experience.
HEALTH CARE  Case Management
Program Development
Community health centers
Outpatient clinics
Public health programs
Health maintenance organizations (HMOs)
Nursing homes
Group homes
Veterans Administration hospitals
Social workers in health care facilitate medical and emotional treatment of patients.
Choose volunteer settings such as hospitals, the American Red Cross, or AIDS agencies to get experience.
COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION  Program and Community Development
Advocacy organizations
Development corporations
Community centers
Local, state, and federal government
Social workers in this area work with existing organizations to improve conditions for specific groups, enhance quality of living, and involve community members in the political process.
Get involved with grassroots causes and community agencies.

Sample of Agencies That FSW Majors Have Worked With:

  • Atrium Medical Center
    Maternal Child Health (depart/floor)
    Franklin, OH 45005
  • Atrium Medical Center
    Diamond Health Center
    Behavioral Health Pavilion
    Franklin, OH 45005
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Butler County
    Hamilton, OH 45011
  • Butler County Adult Probation
    Hamilton, OH 45011
  • Butler County Care Facility
    Hamilton, OH
  • Butler County Children’s Services Board
    Hamilton, OH 45011
  • Butler County Family & Children First Council
    Hamilton, OH 45011
  • Catholic Social Services
    Hamilton, OH 45011
  • City of Middletown
    Comprehensive Counseling Service
    Middletown, OH 45042
  • Cleveland Elementary School
    Hamilton, OH 45013
  • Community Counseling & Crisis Center
    Oxford, OH 45056
  • Council on Aging
    Cincinnati, OH 45203
  • Eagles Wings Praise & Worship Center
    Hamilton, OH 45011
  • Every Child Succeeds Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
    Cincinnati, OH 45229-3039
  • Family Resource Center
    Oxford, OH 45056
  • Family Service Association
    Dayton, OH 45406
  • Family Service Association
    Community Services for the Deaf
    Dayton, OH 45402
  • Family Services of Middletown
    Middletown, OH 45044
  • Focus on Youth
    West Chester, OH 45069
  • Forensic Mental Health Services
    Hamilton, OH 45011
  • Fort Hamilton Hospital
    Hamilton, OH 45013
  • Greenwood Mental Health Center
    Warren County Comm. Mental Health
    Springboro, OH 45066
  • Hamilton County Job & Family Services
    Cincinnati, OH 45202
  • Heritage Spring of West Chester
    West Chester, OH 45069
  • Hope House
    Middletown, OH 45044
  • Horizon Center
    Teen Drug Intervention Program
    Hamilton, OH 45011
  • Hospice of Cincinnati
    Cincinnati, OH 45242
  • Knolls of Oxford
    Oxford, OH 45056
  • Kramer Elementary School
    Oxford, OH 45056
  • Lifespan
    Hamilton, OH 45011
  • Lighthouse
    New Beginnings
    Cincinnati, OH 45213
  • Lighthouse Youth Services, Inc.
    Transitional Living/ Shelter Plus Care
    Cincinnati, OH 45229
    Youth Opportunities Program
    Middletown, OH 45044
  • Mercy Franciscan at Schroder
    Hamilton, OH 45013
  • Middletown City Schools
    Middletown, OH 45044
  • Middletown Municipal Court
    Middletown, OH 45042
  • Mt. Pleasant Retirement Village
    Monroe, OH 45050
  • Over-the-Rhine Community Housing
    Cincinnati, OH 45202
  • Oxford Senior Citizen Center
    Oxford, OH 45056
  • Planned Parenthood
    Cincinnati, OH 45219
  • Preble County Job and Family Services
    Children Services Division
    Eaton, OH 45320
  • Rape, Crisis, & Abuse Center of Hamilton County
    Cincinnati, OH 45227
  • SELF
    Hamilton, OH 45012
  • St. Aloysius Orphanage
    Cincinnati, OH 45237
  • State of Heart Home
    Health and Hospice
    Greenville, OH 45331
  • Talawanda High School
    Oxford, OH 45056
  • Talawanda Middle School
    Oxford, OH 45056
  • Talbert House
    (Turtle Creek Center)
    Lebanon, OH 45036
  • Transitional Living, Inc.
    Hamilton, OH 45011
  • Vitas Hospice
    Cincinnati, OH 45232
  • Warren County Community Services
    Lebanon, OH 45036
  • Youth Opportunities Center
    Middletown School District
    Middletown, OH
  • Working in Neighborhoods
    Cincinnati, OH 45232

Contact Us

Department of Family Science and Social Work
101A McGuffey Hall
Oxford, OH 45056